We’re a few months into real life riding on Campagnolo’s Levante gravel-specific wheelset, we’ve ridden these at Nova Eroica California as part of the official launch, and then at several gravel events and bike packing trips closer to home. Here’s our take on the iconic Italian brand’s fully dedicated Levante gravel wheel set.
This review really takes place in three parts – the first two appear in my video below – shot at the official launch in April at the Nova Eroica gravel ride in California where I talked about the wheels mid-ride, and then the second part where I interview Nathan Haas (in Sept.) about his experiences riding the Levante wheels in several elite-level gravel races this year. The third part is below – where our ToolBox editor and inhouse gravel aficionado Stephen Cheung takes us through his “regular guy” experiences riding the wheels this summer at a mix of events, local rides and even on a bike packing trip.
Watch my video review from Nova Eroica California, and my interview with Nathan Haas discussing the finer technical & ride aspects of the Levante wheelset…
Steve’s Season Long Review Breakdown
- Tough and durable paired with light weight and lively feel.
- No tubeless tape required
- Campy style with laser-etched graphics
- Pricing (US $1899 for the set)
- Whatever gravel means for you, the Levante should fit the bill.
While Rich got to play with the Levante wheelset first during its launch back in late April, I was eagerly chomping at the bit to get myself rolling on a set. With less than a week to spare for my June trip out to British Columbia, the test Rodeo Labs Flaanimal 5.0 arrived at my door, kitted out with the full Campagnolo Ekar 13-spd gruppo and Levante wheels.
The graphics are laser-etched onto the wheels, so you’ll never have the decals fade or peel and end up forgetting what wheels you’re riding.
Of course, like a great PBJ sandwich needing both peanut butter and jam, you need the wheels and tires to make riding magic. I was rolling with the 40 mm Challenge Getaway tires set up as tubeless, and they worked great in all my riding with no noticeable punctures and no cuts.
Campagnolo bills the Levante as suitable to whatever gravel means to you, so I took that pretty literally and have taken it through a lot of big rides so far this summer.
Ride 1: A four-day credit-card bikepacking trip with my buddy Chris out in British Columbia. I had a 6 L saddlebag along with a 2 L bar bag and a 1 L top tube bag, so probably 4 kg of gear. Our trip involved all sorts of terrain ranging from steep tarmac granny gear (38×42 standing) climbs and very fast descents (60-70kmh), crazy rocky and steep gravel (riding and hike-a-bike), a 40 km steady gravel descent down the Kettle Valley Rail Trail (KVR) in steady rain, and numerous cattleguards at speed.
Ride 2: A local fully-loaded overnight bikepacking trip with about 20 km on rugged singletrack. I had a 15 L saddlebag, full 8 L harness bar bag, 3 L frame bag and top tube bag. Total weight was about 10-11 kg of gear. This was pretty serious underbiking, in that the trail was more suited for a hardtail MTB or at the very least an unloaded gravel bike.
Ride 3: The very rugged inaugural edition of the Okanagan Graveller bike race hosted at Big White ski resort outside Kelowna. I had minimal gear on the bike but the terrain made up for it, with lots of elevation, jagged gravel, along with several steep rock garden descents like above. I also got additional time to enjoy the Levantes, as I got horribly lost and my 120 km race turned into 165 km before the course sweepers found me. Race conditions were overcast with light showers.
Ride 4: A more traditional and straightforward gravel race at the Reggie Ramble in Ontario, 130 km of mostly sane gravel with 8 ambushes of very technical singletrack or rocky terrain. Weather was beautiful.
It should be obvious from my riding experiences that the Levante gravel wheels are as tough as you need for most everything that you want to do on gravel.
Are the wheels tough? In addition to the above “normal” riding, I bottomed out both the front and back wheels on cattleguards at speed during my Kelowna bikepacking trip due to not checking tire pressure daily, and the wheels have remained perfectly true and tensioned. Same with three games of air-travel roulette flying the bike across the country.
Better than just bomb-proof durability, the Levantes achieve this without piling on weight. At < 1500 gram total unshod with tires and rotors, the wheels wouldn’t be out of place on a quality road bike build. The light weight helps to keep the ride lively, especially important as you are already dealing with a heavier bike overall, loaded or unloaded.
Another test I like to do with testing the liveliness of wheels is to lean into a corner at moderate speed and then start standing up and sprinting while in or just past the apex of the corner. I find that dead feeling or overly flexy wheels lead to a really wobbly response, but the Levantes felt really secure and lively.
The Levante is Campagnolo’s first entry into the gravel wheel market. They’ve set themselves an ambitious target of toughness, versatility, light weight, and style. I think that I’ve put them through the wringer in terms of variety of use types and gravel terrain, and the Levantes have hit a great balance. The wheels are definitely tough, light and lively, and exude the classic Campy flare.
Check out the Levante at https://www.campagnolo.com/WW/en/Wheels/levante.
PRODUCT SPECS & PRICING
● Gravel dedicated wheelset from Campagnolo – ASTM 2 validated
● 1485g wheelset weight
● 30mm profile , 25mm internal channel, 30.6mm external profile
● Laser-etched graphics on rim & hub
● Asymmetric carbon fiber rim with Mini-Hook
● H.U.L.C. UD carbon fiber, 2-Way Fit rim, C-LUX finish
● Aluminum hub, cup & cone adjustable bearings
● 24 spokes, 12+12 double butted, aluminum external self lock nipples
● Front Axle 12x100mm, Rear Axle 12x142mm
● Tire compatibility: 38mm to 78mm tires (1.5-3.0”)
● N3W: £1349.99, $1899.95 USD, €1575 EUR (Pair)
● SHIMANO HG: £1349.99, $1899.95 USD, €1580 EUR (Pair)
● SRAM XDR £1349.99, $1899.95 USD, €1584 EUR (Pair)